Quebecor lays off 10% of workforce as COVID-19 impact deepens

President and CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau called the temporary job cuts "unavoidable" but said the company is putting in place financial support measures for those affected. (Unlocked)

Job losses continued to hit the media sector on Friday as Quebecor announced it is temporarily laying off 10% of its workforce in a bid to curtail costs during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Quebec-based communications company said the lay offs were “unavoidable” after the provincial government required all businesses deemed non-essential to close.

“The suspension of business activities deemed non-essential has curtailed the operations of many of our business partners and has therefore led to a significant slowdown in some of our business segments, making this difficult decision unavoidable,” said president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau in a statement.

The company has put in place a series of financial assistance and support measures, which Péladeau said will “minimize as much as possible the impact of this period of uncertainty.”

As part of the support plan, Quebecor will top up the government assistance to cover 95% of the salary of employees with an annual salary under $54,200. Affected employees will also be able to take a two-week advance on their salary to cover the waiting period for government assistance.

Meanwhile, for employees with salaries of more than $54,200, Quebecor will top up the government assistance to cover 80% of salary, up to a salary ceiling of $80,000. Quebecor added that its group insurance and pension plans will be maintained and it will continue making contributions if the employee continues to do so.

These financial measures – which come into effect on March 30 and continue through May 31 – apply to all permanent and temporary employees. Quebecor noted that it could tweak its financial support measures if there are changes to the government’s assistance programs.

Quebecor did not specify which divisions had been affected by the temporary cuts. The company’s subsidiaries include broadcasting, publishing and production entity TVA Group, cable and IPTV company Vidéotron, as well as various publishing divisions.

Image: Shutterstock